QC Colleges Contribute to Local Readiness for COVID-19 Pandemic


03/26/2020

Members of the seven-institution QCColleges.com initiative are stepping up to assist local health care providers in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Collectively and individually, Augustana College, Black Hawk College, Eastern Iowa Community Colleges, Palmer College of Chiropractic, St. Ambrose University, Trinity College of Nursing and Health Sciences and Western Illinois University-Quad Cities are supporting efforts to help local health systems respond to the pandemic as needs expand in the Quad Cities region.

Five schools have joined a collective effort to donate PPE masks, face shields and gloves not currently in use as various health sciences programs conduct their courses through distance delivery. The effort is being made in coordination with Ryan and Associates, a plumbing and heating contractor that works with many of the schools as well as with Genesis Health System and Unity Point-Trinity Health System.

The donated protective equipment will be distributed evenly between both local health systems later this week.

"This a wonderful opportunity for those of us who work in health sciences education to be helpful in the midst of an unprecedented health crisis,' said Sandra Cassady, PhD, PT, dean of the College of Health and Human Services and Vice President for Strategic Initiatives at St. Ambrose." We are all learning lessons from this pandemic in real-time and we will be discussing COVID-19 in our classrooms for years to come.

"What's important in this moment is to ensure that health professionals have the supplies and equipment they need to treat those who are ill while staying safe from this deadly and fast-spreading virus themselves."

Augustana President Steve Bahls said supporting the community is an important piece of the mission of every local institution of higher education.

"The Quad Cities community is supportive of the colleges and universities based here, so it is without hesitation that the colleges and universities want to do what we can to support the community, and especially those working in our local healthcare facilities, at this time."

Brian Bahns of Ryan and Associates said stepping up for community was his firm's primary motivation for donating a number of N95 masks to the two health systems his firm works with. He said a follow-up call to St. Ambrose just made sense. Cassady expanded the effort to include other schools with health sciences programs.

Although EICC was making similar donations from all three of its campuses, Chancellor Don Doucette said partnering with fellow QCColleges.com schools was an easy choice.

"We are all in this together," he said. "Our colleges and universities can only be as strong and healthy as our communities. We are pleased to do our small part by providing available personal protective equipment to those on the front lines of keeping our communities healthy."

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In addition to this collective effort, the seven colleges and universities based in the Quad Cities are working separately to assist local health care providers and residents in the face of the pandemic.

Efforts include:

  • Augustana College: In addition to donating supplies, Augie epidemiologist and assistant professor of public health, Dr. Rebecca Heich has been a leader in public health education in recent weeks, appearing on many local newscasts and sharing the hashtag #spreadfactsnotfear.
  • Black Hawk College: Last week returned unused PPE equipment donated to its nursing program to Unity Point Health System for use by frontline providers.
  • EICC: This week the college's Health Sciences Programs at all main campus locations, Clinton, Muscatine, Scott and Scott's Urban Campus, donated personal protective equipment to Genesis East, Bettendorf UnityPoint Health-Trinity, Muscatine UnityPoint and MercyOne in Clinton.
  • Palmer College of Chiropractic: Palmer's main clinic in Davenport remains open for non-routine emergent care. The Clinic is using its supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) to provide appropriate screening of patients, clinicians and staff. All routine clinic appointments are being rescheduled. Faculty clinicians are available by phone to answer patient questions. Hours are posted online and at the clinic entrance.
  • St. Ambrose University: SAU has many professionals providing care in a variety of practice settings, supporting area providers through donated supplies, and some joining iSERV, the Iowa Department of Public Health's secure online registry for individuals wishing to volunteer in the event of a large scale disaster or public health emergency.
  • Trinity College of Nursing & Health Sciences: The school is working closely with local hospitals to offer support in their endeavor to provide care to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Trinity College donated a respirator and personal protective equipment to UnityPoint Health-Trinity earlier this month.
  • Western Illinois University - Quad Cities: WIU-QC hosted a blood drive on March 20. The campus is exploring options to offer space for additional blood drives in light of the current shortage.

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